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I am considering making my site HTTPS but I was wondering does Google treat a link to HTTP exactly the same as SSL HTTPS site, and will my site rank the same with HTTPS.

I guess it makes no difference if your links have www or not, so I imagine HTTPS is the same.

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HTTP/HTTPS Backlinks

Google will treat both backlinks the same since they are protocols and technically the same site, however...! If someone links to your site using HTTP:// and your site is HTTPS only then a redirect action will be required and whenever using a 301 redirect some juice is lost, but its a tiny weenie! amount! and nothing worth worrying about.

HTTPS Rankings Increase

It's no secret that Google recently announced that SSL enabled sites will be rewarded a minor increase in rankings as SSL is now a signal among hundreds of others, it may have already been a siginal for some time but only recently announced it. However is anyone's guess how much it actually does help, you may notice a small shift but in all honesty it's most like so minor that you don't notice any chance.

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  • The Google announcement is another example of Google announcing something that has existed for a long time. HTTPS with a certificate from a trusted provider has been a metric within the Domain Trust score for years. It is a minor score and is not an absolute lock on better performance but it helps. Not having HTTPS, and I do not recommend HTTPS unless you need it, can be overcome easily with other thrust metrics such as having valid contact information that matches between the domain registration and any location mark-up (schema.org) on the site. Always use mark-up for any location.
    – closetnoc
    Oct 4 '14 at 16:58
  • A site even without user authentication or input data forms will benefit from supporting SSL this is because most sites use some form of login for administrators, so regardless of the Google benefit for the sake of $10 a year its worth having one, that way for users who want to use HTTPS can, you don't need to force them too by not using a redirect. Oct 4 '14 at 18:10
  • I hear your point, however, there seems to be an assumption of hosting. And you are right about that. As I said, I do not recommend HTTPS unless you need it. But that is not the case for all sites. In fact, when I was a web host, any control panel could be completely divorced from the site for security purposes and often was. I was also a certificate provider at that time too. Certainly risks have changed in the past decade. And you make a good point about the login.
    – closetnoc
    Oct 5 '14 at 1:24
  • I would use HTTPS for nearly all sites, because as they expand, it is more likely they may need it (I'm not talking about sites which could be written in pure HTML). And since Google currently treats them (HTTP vs HTTPS) differently, then it's best to get it right from the start. In regards to how much difference http vs https will make, this answer provides information so the OP can make an informed decision now... Do people not upvote on this site? +1 from me
    – Dave
    Oct 6 '14 at 8:48
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Technically speaking, http and https are two different sites, and hence it is highly recommended that you setup a http to https version redirect while migrating to https.

Linking directly to https will help. When you do a 301 redirect, a very small amount of link juice is not passed to the newer version. This is a long-time known issue.

I guess it makes no difference if your links have www or not

No, it does make a difference. Sites with www and without www are treated as 2 separate sites. More on this here

Thanks, Krinal

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  • Redirects are good, a rel canonical meta tag would also be appropriate. Oct 3 '14 at 18:51
  • Like the note from that reference Google URL quotes "(Note: We attempt to respect this, but cannot guarantee this in all cases.)", a canonical is no guarantee. 301 redirect on the other hand is an instruction that SE's always respect.
    – Krinal
    Oct 3 '14 at 18:57
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    Unfortunately, Google tries to rewrite the rules of the Internet. HTTP and HTTPS are NOT technically different websites, but Google treats them differently. It is just a matter of one protocol or another to a single site. It is almost the same with www or without. Not trying to be a jerk to Krinal, but I just wanted to point out that Google can sometimes be a bu77h3@d about ordinary things. Just trying to be technically correct. My apologies for bu771ng in on Krinal's fine answer. (meant with humor and kindness of course)
    – closetnoc
    Oct 3 '14 at 23:56

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